How these inspiring athletes are conquering obstacles
Struggles are an inescapable part of life. If anyone can teach us about how to dust ourselves off and get back up, it’s professional athletes. Here, three Olympic hopefuls share their stories and how they managed to move onward and upward.
Who: KIRSTEN SWEETLAND, triathlete and Red Bull brand ambassador
Training schedule: Twenty to 35 hours a week. Sweetland’s two to eight hours of daily activity are divided into interval training for swimming, biking and running, with a gym routine mixed in. She takes a month off a year. Biggest struggle: A painful stomach parasite and bacterial infection Sweetland contracted by swallowing contaminated water while competing in 2014. She was out for a year and is still on multiple antibiotics. “The infection that I got caused neurological changes,” she says. “It made me emotionally unstable—like I wasn’t myself. I’ve had a lot of [setbacks,] but none like this.” Pressing forward: “The lesson I took away from this was just how much internal strength I have that I didn’t know was there. I now have the confidence to deal with pretty much anything.”
Who: ROSIE MACLENNAN, trampolinist and Tide brand ambassador
Training schedule: Thirty-six to 40 hours a week. Weekly, MacLennan does nine practices on the trampoline, two strength and conditioning sessions with a trainer, two Pilates classes, interval training, cardio and stretching. Biggest struggle: Accepting her body. “I have more curves than the average trampolinist and at times was thicker than a lot of them too,” says MacLennan. “That made me self-conscious.” Pressing forward: “My mom’s been a great sounding board. We had a talk and she was like, ‘Do you want to be the skinniest girl on the trampoline, or do you want to be the best? Because they don’t necessarily go hand in hand.’ She helped me reframe how I look at my body and realize that being powerful was integral to my sport. My thicker legs and bubble butt give me my advantage.”
Who: STEPHANIE LABBÉ, goalkeeper for national soccer team and Always brand ambassador Training schedule: Labbé is on the soccer field for two hours every day, hits the gym a few times a week, meditates daily and receives regular physio and massage therapy. Biggest struggle: Managing mental stress and worrying too much about the critics. “As a goalkeeper, we’re the last line. If we make a mistake, it almost always results in a goal. Everybody notices, and we get a lot of criticism for that.”
Pressing forward: “Focusing on what others thought took up a lot of my energy. I’ve had to really work on that. In the past year, yoga and meditation have come into my life. They have brought me back to focusing on myself and on what I can control: the effort I put in, being a good teammate and person, and just doing my best regardless of the result.”